Scattered Trees are Keystone Structures: Implications for Conservation

Manning, A.D., J. Fischer and D.B. Lindenmayer

Publication Date:

This paper shows that scattered trees are keystone structures in a wide range of landscapes. At the local scale, ecological functions of scattered trees include: provision of a distinct microclimate; increased soil nutrients; increased plant species richness; increased structural complexity; and habitat for animals. At the landscape scale, ecological roles include: increased landscape-scale tree cover; increased connectivity for animals; increased genetic connectivity for tree populations; and provision of genetic material and focal points for future large-scale ecosystem restoration. Furthermore, in disturbed landscapes, scattered trees often are biological legacies that provide ecological continuity through time. In combination, these ecological functions support the argument that scattered trees are keystone structures.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Biological Conservation